89Zr-bevacizumab PET as an early biomarker for response to everolimus treatment in an ovarian cancer xenograft model

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The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is activated in the majority of ovarian cancers and is involved in tumor angiogenesis. Inhibitors of mTOR, like everolimus, are potentially interesting drugs as they can exert antitumor activity in part through reducing downstream vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) production. We investigated whether early effects of everolimus treatment could be monitored with 89Zr-bevacizumab positron emission tomography (VEGF-PET). Methods: The effect of everolimus on VEGF-A secretion was determined in three human ovarian cancer cell lines and in A2780luc+ ovarian cancer cells xenografted subcutaneously in BALB/c mice. Mice received daily everolimus (10 mg/kg intraperitoneally) for 14 days. PET scans with the tracer 89Zr-labeled bevacizumab were performed to monitor tumor VEGF-A expression before (baseline) and after treatment. Images were obtained 6 days after tracer injection. Tracer uptake was quantified and expressed as mean standardized uptake values (SUVmean). For ex vivo 89Zr-bevacizumab biodistribution and correlative tissue analyses, control animals were sacrificed after the baseline scans. Tumor VEGF-A levels were measured with ELISA in tumor lysates and mean vascular density (MVD) was determined with immunohistochemistry. Results: Everolimus treatment lowered VEGF-A levels in the supernatant of all cell lines. Everolimus lowered 89Zr-bevacizumab tumor uptake by 21.7 ± 4.0% (SUVmean 2.26 ± 0.18 versus 2.89 ± 0.20, p <0.01). Ex vivo 89Zr-bevacizumab biodistribution showed less tracer uptake in the tumors of treated compared to control animals (7.78 ± 0.84 %ID/g versus 14.02 ± 1.68 %ID/g, p <0.01), while no differences were observed for other tissues. VEGF-A protein levels in tumor lysates were lower in treated versus untreated tumors (p = 0.04), as was the MVD (p <0.01). Conclusion: 89Zr-bevacizumab PET showed reduced tumor VEGF-A levels in vivo in response to everolimus therapy, coinciding with inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. Currently there are 2 clinical trials ongoing to study the value of 89Zr-bevacizumab PET to monitor tumor VEGF-A levels as an early biomarker of response to mTOR inhibitor therapy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15-Apr-2012


  • bevacizumab
  • biological marker
  • everolimus
  • vasculotropin A
  • tracer
  • vasculotropin
  • mammalian target of rapamycin
  • mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor
  • protein
  • ovary cancer
  • tumor xenograft
  • model
  • cancer research
  • neoplasm
  • female
  • tissues
  • ex vivo study
  • mouse
  • positron emission tomography
  • human
  • angiogenesis
  • therapy
  • cell line
  • supernatant
  • immunohistochemistry
  • density
  • injection
  • cancer cell
  • cancer cell culture
  • secretion (process)
  • antineoplastic activity
  • clinical trial (topic)
  • enzyme linked immunosorbent assay

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